Friday, April 3, 2020
The General Assembly will briefly return to session in Columbia for one day next week. Gov. Henry McMaster closed all public access to beaches and boat ramps this past week.
South Carolina’s public schools will remain closed through the month of April.
The State Elections Commission Executive Director sent a letter to state leaders urging them to consider his suggested adjustments to South Carolina voting process.
REMINDER: Wash your hands. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough. Stay home if you’re sick.
The General Assembly will return to Columbia for one day on Wednesday, April 8, starting at 1 p.m. It is expected they will pass a Continuing Resolution to provide for the continued operation of state government beginning July 1. State government agencies would continue operation at the current funding levels in the absence of passage of a state budget for FY20-21.
They are also expected to pass a Sine Die Resolution allowing them to return to session after the scheduled adjournment of May 14.
It appears likely the General Assembly will return to Columbia in October to address the state budget and other agreed upon items for consideration, including COVID-19 matters.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-16 on Monday, March 30, closing public access to all beaches. The order also closes access to all public boat ramps and landings on all lakes, rivers and waterways. The next day, he issued Executive Order 2020-17, which orders the closure of non-essential businesses throughout the state in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Business owners who have a question as to whether they qualify as essential should complete the Essential Business Clarification form from the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Questions can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or business representatives can call 803.734.2873.
Gov. McMaster and State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced last week that all South Carolina public schools will remain closed for the month of April. The governor’s Executive Order applies to all K-12 schools and the state’s public colleges, universities and technical colleges. They encouraged all institutions to maintain existing plans to provide instruction through virtual learning.
The Medical University of South Carolina is offering free Telehealth consultations and screenings for anyone in South Carolina experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. New and existing patients should use the promo code COVID19.
For more information from SC DHEC on the virus, go here.
The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 855.472.3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days per week.
Other helpful links:
The Emergency Management Division provides links to important information, including the South Carolina Department on Aging, SC Childcare, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the Department of Revenue and the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
South Carolina Department of Commerce for small business information and assistance.
Information for parents, teachers and students regarding statewide school closures can be found at the SC Department of Education.
For additional resources that may be beneficial to your organization’s preparedness efforts, visit Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s COVID-19 Resources page.
For resources that might be beneficial to your organization’s preparedness efforts, visit the COVID-19 Resources page of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA (Copper Dome Strategies is a subsidiary of the law firm).
State Elections Commission Executive Director Marci Andino sent a letter to Gov. McMaster, Senate President Harvey Peeler and House Speaker Jay Lucas this past week urging them to consider changes in the voting process due to the health risks from COVID-19.
Specifically, Andino is suggesting:
Easier access to absentee voting, including adding “no excuse” as a reason to vote, allowing online application requests and removes witness signatures for mail-in ballots. It also would expand the ability to access ballots online for healthcare professionals and first responders.
Vote by mail: The SEC would send ballots to every registered voter, and voters could then mail them back or drop off at locations before Election Day. Some polls would have to be open for voters with accessibility needs, last-minute voters and other circumstances.
Create early voting in South Carolina for the first time: This would spread out voting over several weeks instead of one day. It would also allow the SEC to open and maintain a few county locations instead of widespread polling places leading up to the election.
These changes would require action by the General Assembly to implement. In the meantime, the SEC will continue preparing for the June primaries as usual.
The 2020 Candidate Filing Period closed at noon on Monday, March 30. Any candidates seeking a political party’s nomination for any office in the 2020 General Election needed to file with the appropriate county board of voter registration and elections or the South Carolina Election Commission during by that time.
All 170 seats in the S.C. General Assembly (124 House seats and 46 Senate seats) are up for election this year, along with numerous county and local offices.
State Senate – 46 Seats
- There are three open seats
- 10 Senators will NOT face opposition in either the primary or general election
- 20 Senators will face opposition only in the November General Election
- 13 Senators will face a primary challenge; nine of those will also face a general election opponent
House of Representatives – 124 Seats
- There are 11 open seats
- 53 representatives will NOT face opposition in either the primary or general election
- 35 representatives will face opposition in the general election
- 25 representatives will face a primary challenge; 13 of those will also face a general election opponent.
Partisan primary elections are scheduled for June 9 with runoff elections scheduled for June 23, if necessary. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in a partisan primary election in South Carolina, the top two candidates receiving the most votes advance to a head-to-head match-up two weeks later.
For more information, the South Carolina Election Commission website is here.
Former State Representative Peter M. McCoy Jr. was sworn in as Interim U.S. Attorney for South Carolina by Attorney General William Barr. McCoy, 42, served as a State Representative from Charleston representing District 115. He has served as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee since 2018. His nomination was sent by President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate earlier this month and is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In addition to our coverage of the General Assembly’s Wednesday meeting, we will keep you apprised as to any updates regarding the state response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Look to SCACPA’s ‘The View from the Dome’ for State House Developments on Tax Issues Through SC’s 2020 Legislative Session. Sine Die adjournment is scheduled for May 14.